Appointments for pot committee stir supervisor’s angst

Margie Barrios

The county board chairwoman opted to make two controversial appointments herself—for a marijuana cultivation ad hoc committee—instead of allowing the board to vote on them.
Barrios on Tuesday led the board’s consideration of a new ad hoc committee that will serve to advise the supervisors on a cultivation ordinance, expected for approval in the coming months before a March deadline in state legislation to form one. It came after the board earlier this month, in response to public outcry over lacking transparency in the process, had shelved a prior proposal that would have banned all outdoor pot growth in unincorporated areas of the county.
Barrios and Supervisor Anthony Botelho served on a prior subcommittee that brought forward the outdoor growth ban. Barrios, who continues to support that original proposal, on Tuesday asked a county attorney for clarification on the appointment process.
Barrios asked a deputy county counsel whether she could make the appointments herself or if the board should vote on it. The attorney told Barrios she had either option.
Barrios then moved ahead and appointed Botelho and Supervisor Jerry Muenzer, also originally on board with the outdoor cultivation ban before the public outcry, to the new ad hoc committee. Barrios and others have stressed the new committee will involve various stakeholders such as marijuana growers and the high school.
Barrios in making the appointments cited Botelho and Muenzer’s rural districts as being most relevant for the topic. Botelho largely represents the San Juan Valley, and Muenzer represents most of the county from the Ridgemark area south.
“I certainly would be honored to work on this,” Botelho said.
Muenzer added he would be “happy to serve.”
But the process for the appointments didn’t sit well with Supervisor Robert Rivas.
Rivas after the vote went on social media and tweeted how Barrios “displayed poor leadership when she created the ad hoc committee to deal with the issue of marijuana.” Rivas followed up with thoughts in an email to the Free Lance.
Rivas wrote the following:
“Committees on this Board should be created to have honest debate.  To have dialogue.  To discuss and debate an issue, without having already arrived at a decision.  To create a committee, whose members represent only one point of view is not only extremely unfair, but does a tremendous disservice to the citizens of this county. In my opinion it shows poor leadership and  I expected better of our Chairperson, Margie Barrios.  It is clear, that Supervisor Barrios would rather get her way, instead of having a healthy policy debate.”

Leave your comments